Wednesday, November 26, 2008


tr.v. dis·am·big·u·at·ed, dis·am·big·u·at·ing, dis·am·big·u·ates
To establish a single grammatical or semantic interpretation for.

Harakiri (disambiguation)
Harakiri (or hara-kiri) most often refers to a form of seppuku (or ritual suicide), often miswritten as "harikari".

Seppuku (切腹, Seppuku? "stomach-cutting") is a form of Japanese ritual suicide by disembowelment. Seppuku was originally reserved only for samurai. Part of the samurai honor code, seppuku was used voluntarily by samurai to die with honor rather than fall into the hands of their enemies, as a form of capital punishment for samurai who have committed serious offenses, and for reasons that shamed them. Seppuku is performed by plunging a sword into the abdomen and moving the sword left to right in a slicing motion. The practice of committing seppuku at the death of one's master, known as oibara (追腹 or 追い腹, the kun'yomi or Japanese reading) or tsuifuku (追腹, the on'yomi or Chinese reading), follows a similar ritual.

I thought of this tonight, because when I opened the door to the refridgerator just now, the sushi we brought home from Wassabi last night jumped from the top shelf and quite literally disemboweled itself on the kitchen floor.
It wasn't pretty. But it was perhaps noble since I had disgraced it by reaching for an American beer.
Then again, it was ronin and carried the ignoble names of 2nd Climax, Mango Tango, Orgasmic and Crunchy. Ronin carry pride and are traditionally reserved. But they take no slight in stride. They display complete loyalty and would rather die than live without honor. So, perhaps it was the beer. Perhaps, it was the salmon steak. Perhaps, it was the Velveeta.
But I know it was Crunchy who was the most disconsolate.

With that name, wouldn't you be?

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

They're Getting Better At The Sting



We the Federal bureau of investigation (FBI) Washington, DC in conjunction with some other relevant security Agencies here in the United states of America have recently been informed through our Global intelligence monitoring network that you presently have a transaction going on with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), regards to your over-due contract payment which was fully endorsed in your favor accordingly. It might interest you to know that we have taken our time in screening through this contract payment notification as stipulated on our protocol of operation, and have finally confirmed that your contract payment is 100% genuine and legal with due process of law, and it is as well free from all illegal activities,which you have the lawful right to claim your fund without any further delay.Having said all this, we will further advise, that you should go ahead in dealing with the Central Bank office accordingly as we will be monitoring all their services accordingly with our intelligent monitoring network device, and with your cooperation. furthermore, we want to place this on your notice that we recently had ameeting with the Executive Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, in the person of Prof. Chukwuma Soludo and Mr. Emakpo Sam Banks along with some of the top officials of the Ministry regarding your case and they made us to understand that your file has been held in abase depending on when you personally come for the claim. They also told us that the only problem they are facing right now is that some unscrupulous element are using this project as an avenue to scam innocent people off their hard earned money by impersonating the Executive Governor and the Central Bank office. We were also made to understand that a lady with name Mrs. Joan C. Bailey from OHIO and another person named as Mr. Wachovia who reside in Missouri as well has already contacted them and also presented to them all the necessary documentations evidencing your claims, claiming to have been signed personally by you prior to the release of your contract fund valued at about US$10,000,000.00 (Ten million United States dollars), but the Central Bank office did the wise thing by insisting on hearing from you personally before they go ahead on wiring your fund to the Bank information which was forwarded to them by the above mentioned names, the main reason, we the federal bureau of investigation were contacted by the CBN is to assist them on making some investigation regards to this issue. They further informed us that we should inform our citizens, who must have been informed of the contract payment which was awarded to them from the Central Bank of Nigeria, to be very careful prior to these irregularities so that they don't fall victim to scam. We the FBI are instructing you personally, that if you were already dealing with anybody or office claiming to be from the Central Bank of Nigeria, you are further advised to STOP further contact with them in your best interest and then, contact immediately the real office of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) only with the below information accordingly:

OFFICE ADDRESS: Central Bank of Nigeria
Central Business District,Cad astral Zone,
federal Capital Territory,Nigeria.
TEL: +234-802-906-3949

NOTE: In your best interest, any email or fax that doesn't come from the aboveofficial email address or addresses and phone number should not be replied to and should be disregarded accordingly for security reasons. Meanwhile, we will advise you to contact the Central Bank office immediately with the above email address and request that they attend to you payment file as directed so as to enable you receive your contract fund accordingly. Ensure you follow all their procedure as required by them in order to hasten Up the effective procedures,of transferring your funds to you as designated by you. Also have in mind that the Central Bank of Nigeria equally have their own protocol of operation asstipulated on their banking realm, so any delay could be very dangerous. Once again, we will advise you to contact them with the above email address and make sure you forward to them all the necessary information which might be required from you prior to the release of your fund. All modality has already been worked out even before you were contacted and note, that we will be monitoring all your dealings with them as you proceed so you don't have anything to worry about. All we require from you henceforth is an update so as to enable us be on track with you and the Central Bank of Nigeria. Without wasting much time, will want you to contact them immediately with the above email address so as to enable them attend to your case accordingly without any further delay astime is already running out. Should in case you need any more information in regards to this notification, feel free to get back to us so in order to brief you more, because we are here to guide you and serve you better during and after this contract fund has been completely perfected and you have received your contract fund as stated.Thanks, for your anticipated cooperation in advance as we earnestly await your urgent response to this matter.

Best Regards,
Robert S. Mueller III
Federal Bureau of Investigation
J. Edgar Hoover Building
935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, D.C.
20535-0001, USA

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Joe the Plumber Lands In His Own Pile

Oh, snap!
Joe the Plumber of the third presidential debate fame owes $1,200 in unpaid taxes for the year 2007.
Further, he would not be subject to the tax hike Obama Barack has promoted for the rich and bloated if he buys the very comapny he has complained about not being able to if Obama is elected. Why? Because he would not be taxed on the price of the company, but the profit generated. Oops.
And it turns out:
"When asked whether the McCain campaign had told him he would be a prominent part of the debate and whether McCain's people had approached him before he met Obama, Wurzelbacher was unclear.
"Oh no. No one's contacted me as far as being on the debate or as far as my name being used," Wurzelbacher said. "I have been contacted by them and asked to show up at a rally, but other than that, I just happened to be there and Barack Obama showed up
Joe the Plumber evidently deals out all kinds of shit, especially bullshit.

Update: Bwaahaahaa!!! According to a blog on the Washington Post:
"Let me note that, on deadline late last night, our crack researchers were unable to find any record of a person by that name with a plumbing license in the state of Ohio. (Update: The Toledo Blade confirms.)".
(I must admit that I didn't bother to find out if this guy's crack researchers were a pair of Peruvian racing squirrels or not, but since the Toledo Blade verifies it it must be golddamned true).
Oh, and he owes something like $1,500 to a local hospital. I understand owing more than I can pay at one time (or 10 times), but how is this guy thinking he can buy a business when he owes state taxes and hospital bills? Doesn't happen when the country is in a financial catastrophe and the banks and credit card companies are withdrawing all friendlies from the consumer landscape.
By the by, do you owe on credit cards? Are you close or even semi-close or even remotely within the neighborhood of where you would think that maybe you should think about not using your credit card anymore (like you have a $10,000 limit and you have charged $3000 on it)? Expect that company to, within the next 6 months, begin to lower your limits without explanation. If you are much closer to your limits, expect that company to lower your limits to below what you already owe and then charge you overlimit fees. Expect that company to jump your interest rates as well (like from 10-15% to 30% or more). It's legal and no one is talking about it yet. Because that's the next tsunami to hit our economy as creditors look to shore up the levees against more losses.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Food For Thought

(from Alternet)
Has Sarah Palin Been Picked as the Titular Head of the Coming Police State?

By Naomi Wolf, Huffington PostPosted on September 24, 2008, Printed on September 24, 2008

Please understand what you are looking at when you look at Sarah "Evita" Palin. You are looking at the designated muse of the coming American police state.
You have to understand how things work in a closing society in order to understand "Palin Power." A gang or cabal seizes power, usually with an affable, weak figurehead at the fore. Then they will hold elections -- but they will make sure that the election will be corrupted and that the next affable, weak figurehead is entirely in their control. Remember, Russia has Presidents; Russia holds elections. Dictators and gangs of thugs all over the world hold elections. It means nothing. When a cabal has seized power you can have elections and even presidents, but you don't have freedom.
I realized early on with horror what I was seeing in Governor Palin: the continuation of the Rove-Cheney cabal, but this time without restraints. I heard her echo Bush 2000 soundbites ("the heart of America is on display") and realized Bush's speechwriters were writing her -- not McCain's -- speeches. I heard her tell George Bush's lies -- not McCain's -- to the American people, linking 9/11 to Iraq. I heard her make fun of Barack Obama for wanting to prevent the torture of prisoners -- this is Rove-Cheney's enthusiastic S and M, not McCain's, who, though he shamefully colluded in the 2006 Military Tribunals Act, is also a former prisoner of war and wrote an eloquent Newsweek piece in 2005 opposing torture. I saw that she was even styled by the same skillful stylist (neutral lipstick, matte makeup, dark colors) who turned Katharine Harris from a mall rat into a stateswoman and who styles all the women in the Bush orbit -- but who does not bother to style Cindy McCain.
Then I saw and heard more. Palin is embracing lawlessness in defying Alaskan Legislature subpoenas -- this is what Rove-Cheney, and not McCain, believe in doing. She uses mafia tactics against critics, like the police commissioner who was railroaded for opposing handguns in Alaskan battered women's shelters -- Rove's style, not McCain's. I realized what I was seeing.
Reports confirmed my suspicions: Palin, not McCain, is the FrankenBarbie of the Rove-Cheney cabal. The strategy became clear. Time magazine reported that Rove is "dialed in" to the McCain campaign. Rove's protege Steve Schmidt is now campaign manager. And Politico reported that Rove was heavily involved in McCain's vice presidential selection. Finally a new report shows that there are dozens of Bush and Rove operatives surrounding Sarah Palin and orchestrating her every move.
What's the plan? It is this. McCain doesn't matter. Reputable dermatologists are discussing the fact that in simply actuarial terms, John McCain has a virulent and life-threatening form of skin cancer. It is the elephant in the room, but we must discuss the health of the candidates: doctors put survival rates for someone his age at two to four years. I believe the Rove-Cheney cabal is using Sarah Palin as a stalking horse, an Evita figure, to put a popular, populist face on the coming police state and be the talk show hostess for the end of elections as we know them. If McCain-Palin get in, this will be the last true American election. She will be working for Halliburton, KBR, Rove and Cheney into the foreseeable future -- for a decade perhaps -- a puppet "president" for the same people who have plundered our treasure, are now holding the US economy hostage and who murdered four thousand brave young men and women in a way of choice and lies.
How, you may ask, can I assert this? How can I argue, as I now do, that there is actually a war being ramped up against US citizens and our democracy and that Sarah Palin is the figurehead and muse for that war?
Look at the RNC. This is supposed to be McCain's America. But you see the unmistakable theatre of Rove's S and M imagery -- and you see stages eight, nine and ten of the steps to a dictatorship as I outlined them in The End of America. Preemptive arrest? Abusive arrest? "Newly released footage, which was buried to avoid confiscation, shows riot cops arresting and abusing a giant group of people for nothing."
Journalists were arrested -- for reporting. Amy Goodman and ABC producers were arrested. Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake and others were forced to lie face down as armed agents tied their hands behind their backs. The riot police wore the black S&M gear of the Rovian fantasy life and carried the four foot batons cops carry in North Korea. All this is not John McCain's imagery or strategy: it is Karl Rove's.
In McCain-Palin's America, citizens who are protesting are being charged as terrorists. This means that a violent war had been declared on American citizens. A well known reporter leaked to me on background that St Paul police had dressed as protesters and, dressed in Black -- shades of the Blackshirts of 1920 -- infiltrated protest groups. There were also phalanxes of men in black wearing balaclavas, linking arms and behaving menacingly -- alleged "anarchists." Let me tell you, I have been on the left for thirty years and you can't get three lefties to wear the same t-shirt to a rally, let alone link arms and wear identical face masks: these are not our guys. Agent Provocateurs framing protesters and calling protest "terrorism" constitutes step ten of a police state:
"In what appears to be the first use of criminal charges under the 2002 Minnesota version of the Federal Patriot Act, Ramsey County Prosecutors have formally charged 8 alleged leaders of the RNC Welcoming Committee with Conspiracy to Riot in Furtherance of Terrorism… [they] 7 1/2 years in prison under the terrorism enhancement charge which allows for a 50% increase in the maximum penalty."
"Paid, confidential informants… infiltrated the RNCWC on behalf of law enforcement. They allege that members of the group sought to kidnap delegates to the RNC, assault police officers with firebombs and explosives, and sabotage airports in St. Paul. Evidence released to date does not corroborate these allegations with physical evidence or provide any other evidence for these allegations than the claims of the informants. Based on past abuses of such informants by law enforcement, the National Lawyers Guild is concerned that such police informants have incentives to lie and exaggerate threats of violence and to also act as provocateurs in raising and urging support for acts of violence."
Under the Palin-Rove police state, you will see escalating infringements on your access to a free internet:
"Sarah Palin was baptized at Wasilla Assembly of God…Last Sunday our research team released a video, a ten-minute mini-documentary, focusing on the Wasilla Assemblies of God and the video seemed on the verge of a massive "viral" breakthrough when YouTube pulled it down, citing 'inappropriate content'. At the point the video was censored by YouTube it had been viewed by almost 160,000 people. The short of it is that YouTube has censored a video documentary that appeared to be close to having an effect on a hard fought and contentious American presidential election…"
Under the coming Palin-Rove police state, you will witness the plans now underway to bring Iraqi troops to patrol the streets of our nation. This is not McCain's fantasy: it is Rove's and Cheney's.
Under the Palin-Rove police state, there will be no further true elections. Mark Crispin Miller has done sensational and under-reported investigating t o establish that -- as I warned -- indeed the GOP staffers on the US Senate Judiciary Committee have been .
The evidence is also buried on the Website of the Majority House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
WASHINGTON -- Republican staff members of the US Senate Judiciary Commitee infiltrated opposition computer files for a year, monitoring secret strategy memos and periodically passing on copies to the media, Senate officials told The Globe. >From the spring of 2002 until at least April 2003, members of the GOP committee staff exploited a computer glitch that allowed them to access restricted Democratic communications witho ut a password. Trolling through hundreds of memos, they were able to read talking points and accounts of private meetings discussing which judicial nominees Democrats would fight -- and with what tactics.
-- "Senate panel's GOP staff spied on Democrats" By Charlie Savage, Globe Staff January 22, 2004
Do you think that spying like this will ever end under a Palin-Rove regime? Dream on. If she and McCain are elected, then every single strategy memo and speech and debate prep note from every opposition candidate from now and on into forever will be read by the regime in power while it is still in the computers of the challengers.
Under the Palin-Rove police state, citizens will be targeted with state cyberterrorism. Bruce Fein of the American Freedom Agenda, a former Reagan official, warned me three years ago that the Bush team went after a Republican who had crossed them through cyberstalking: they messed with his email, messed with his phones and I believe messed with his bank account -- he became a cyber-pariah, unemployable and haunted. With modern technology, there really is less place to hide from the state than there was in East Germany in the Cold War era. I remember feeling a chill: of course. That is the wave of the future once we breach the protections around citizens of FISA and the fourth amendment. That way lies the abyss for us all.
Am I trying to scare you? I am. I am trying to scare you to death and ask you to scare your Republican and independent friends most of all. How do you know when it is war on citizens? When there are mass arrests, journalists are jailed, the opposition is infiltrated, rights are stripped and leaders start to ignore the rule of law.
Almost everyone I work with on projects related to this campaign for liberty has been experiencing computer harassment: emails are stripped, messages disappear. That's not all: people's bank accounts are being tampered with: wire transfers to banks vanish in midair. I personally keep opening bank accounts that are quickly corrupted by fraud. Money vanishes. Coworkers of mine have to keep opening new email accounts as old ones become infected. And most disturbingly to me personally is the mail tampering I have both heard of and experienced firsthand. My tax returns vanished from my mailbox. All my larger envelopes arrive ripped straight open apparently by hand. When I show the postman, he says "That's impossible." Horrifyingly to me is the impact on my family. My childrens' report cards are returned again and again though perfectly addressed; their invitations are turned back; and my daughters many letters from camp? Vanished. All of them. Not one arrived. Try explaining that to a smart thirteen year old. Try explaining it in a way that still makes her feel secure and comfortable.
I am not telling you this because it's about my life. I am telling you this because it is about your life -- whoever you are, Conservative or Liberal, independent or evangelical. Your politics will not protect you in a police state. History shows that nothing protects you in a police state. This is not about my fear and anxiety: it is about what awaits you and everyone you love unless you see this for what it is:
Scharansky divided nations into "fear societies" and "free societies." Make no mistake: Sarah "Evita" Palin is Rove and Cheney's cosmetic rebranding of their fascist push: she will help to establish a true and irreversible "fear society" in this once free once proud nation. For God's sake, do not let her; do not let them.
Naomi Wolf is the author of 'The End of America: A Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot' (Chelsea Green, 2007).
© 2008 Huffington Post All rights reserved.View this story online at:

Monday, September 15, 2008

Sarah Palin: Moose Knuckle Lover!

Sarah Palin: possibly the next in line to running the Free World (as we Americans continue to delude ourselves into believing).
Not having a clue as to what the Bush Doctrine is? Yup.
Blocking a clinic that provides the option of having an abortion? Evidently.
Convinced that humans walked with dinosaurs? Evidently (see above link to
Trying to ban a book that didn't condemn homosexuality? Possibly (see above link to
Believing that the End Times will happen before she dies? Definitely (see above link to
Supporting abstinence only sex ed in public schools while her own high school age daughter is pregnant and single? Double check.
Voting for Obama to keep this incompetent, unqualified liar and hypocrite out of higher government? Priceless.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

News For The Rest

Some tidbits of news to tickle the cerebellum (courtesy of Pronoia Network News):

The world's largest private bank, Citigroup, has agreed to stop financing projects that damage sensitive ecosystems. It has promised to invest more in projects that use renewable energy and to pursue policies that protect indigenous people. How did this impossible dream come to pass? The humble but dogged environmental group, Rainforest Action Network, creatively pestered Citigroup for years until the corporation gave in to its demands.
Researchers at Emory University found that humans are biologically programmed to be nice. Their study used magnetic resonance imaging to scan the brains of women who were playing a game called the Prisoners' Dilemma. While seeking the goal of financial gain, the women could choose between collaborative or self-aggrandizing strategies. Whenever they opted for the former, the parts of their brains correlated with reward-seeking behavior lit up."The longer the women engaged in a cooperative strategy, the more strongly flowed the blood to the pathways of pleasure," wrote Natalie Angier in her account in *The New York Times.*
Current human life expectancy, already at age 78 for Americans, is steadily increasing. Men now live an average of 27 years longer than they did a century ago, and women 31 years. Many scientists believe there is no absolute limit to the human life span. Some expect that by 2070, life expectancy will be 100.
Quoting geneticists, Guy Murchie says we're all family. You have at least a million relatives as close as tenth cousin, and no one on Earth is any farther removed than your 50th cousin. Murchie also describes our kinship through an analysis of how deeply we share the air. With each breath, you take into your body 10 sextillion atoms, and—owing to the wind's ceaseless circulation—over a year's time you have intimate relations with oxygen molecules exhaled by every person alive, as well as by everyone who ever lived. Right now you may be carrying atoms that were once inside the lungs of Malcolm X, Christopher Columbus, Joan of Arc, and Cleopatra. (Source: Guy Murchie, *The Seven Mysteries of Life*)
Canadian moose can now walk in peace and safety all the way to South America, thanks to Harrison Ford. He and other celebrities with wealth and influence quietly worked together for years to purchase land along corridors that connect various wildlife refuges and national parks.Meanwhile, Canadian government officials report that their country, the second largest in the world, plans to create ten giant national parks and five marine conservation areas. The new sanctuaries, when added to the existing 39 national parks, will double the amount of protected land.
Crime committed by teenagers has plummeted to its lowest levels in more than two decades. Drunken teens are still killing themselves while driving cars, but the rate is half what it was 20 years ago. The overall teen death rate from accident, homicide, or suicide dropped 28 percent between 1990 and 2000.In 60 years, there hasn't been a lower birth rate among teenage girls than there is now. The overall dropout rate among American high school students has declined by four percent in the last two decades, with an eight percent improvement among African Americans. Three-fourths of high school students say they get along very well or extremely well with their parents, and only three percent say they don't get along well.
You are a metropolis of 50 trillion citizens, says biologist Dr. Bruce Lipton. Each of the cells in your body can be considered a sentient being in its own right. They all act together as a community, performing an ongoing act of prodigious collaboration.
"The insulted waters of New York City are again sacred passages, as they once were to Native Americans for millennia. Raw sewage no longer pours into vital waterways, and industrial pollution has largely been checked. We are witnessing the ecological resurrection of our rivers and bays, from the return of wood-eating gribbles and shipworms that devour our piers to winter visits by a small seal community. People are coming down to the water again to see rare birds, to kayak and to swim. And responding to an ancient call, they're coming down to the water to pray. Among the worshipers are Hindus, Shintoists, African Americans of the Yoruba-influenced Spiritual Baptist faith, Wiccans, Zoroastrians, Christians, and Jews." - Erik Baard, *Village Voice,*
Wal-Mart is famous for the stingy pay and benefits it offers its employees. But another giant chain store, Costco, takes a different approach. Full-time workers there average $15.97 per hour, which is almost 40 percent higher than their Wal-Mart counterparts, who earn $11.52. After four years, a Costco cashier's yearly salary can rise to $44,000. The company also covers 92 percent of most of its workers' health care costs. While the industry-wide turnover rate averages 66 percent, Costco's is just 23 percent.Costco is so unusual in its benevolence that some business gurus disapprove. "From the perspective of investors, Costco's benefits are overly generous," says retail analyst Bill Dreher, quoted in The Wall Street Journal. He thinks that the company's largesse depresses its stock value because investors are afraid its profit margins aren't as high as they could be.But the fact is that Costco is very successful. Its five-year growth rate has been 10.1 percent annually, better than Wal-Mart's 9.8 percent. Its annual earnings were expected to rise from $41.7 billion in 2003 to $47.2 billion in 2004.
Scientists have confirmed what we all knew: You do indeed have a little voice in your head that warns you when you're about to do something dumb. It's called the anterior cingulate cortex, according to white-coated authorities at Carnegie-Mellon University. If you're receptive to it, it's as good as having a guardian angel. "Don't do it," the voice whispers when you're on the verge of locking your keys in your car or leaving the bar with the cute drunk you just met. "Go back," it murmurs as you start to walk away from a huge, though initially inconvenient, opportunity.
Early last century, marauding boll weevils devoured the cotton crop that was the main product of Enterprise, Alabama. Local farmers had no choice but to diversify the plants they grew. As a result, the town's per capita income tripled what it had been when cotton was king. In response, grateful citizens built a huge bronze monument to the insect that had forced them to grow richer.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Pot Calling Kettle

(the National Enquirer, the newest bastion of accurate reporting, claims that Sarah Palin had an affair with her husband's business partner. The following is McCain's campaign's response)

"The smearing of the Palin family must end. The allegations contained on the cover of the National Enquirer insinuating that Gov. Palin had an extramarital affair are categorically false. It is a vicious lie," said McCain senior adviser Steve Schmidt. "The efforts of the media and tabloids to destroy this fine and accomplished public servant are a disgrace. The American people will reject it."

(other quotes from John McCain himself concerning respecting Pain's family's privacy follow)

–“This is a very personal matter for the family. We should all respect the love they have for the child and the desire all parents would have for their children’s privacy.”
–“The media should respect Bristol’s privacy. That’s always been the tradition and practice when it comes to the children of candidates.”...
–“The children of candidates do not choose to run for office and be thrust into the spotlight.”

(and now for the coup d'hypocrite)

From a John McCain speech during a Republican Dinner in June 1998 published in the June 25, 1998 version of Salon:
"Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly? Because her father is Janet Reno."

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Sarah Palin: Too True To Be Good

John Dean has written an insightful and very lawyerly screed as to exactly why Sarah Palin is not qualified to become second in line to th presidency. Check it out here.
Frank Rich of the New York Times goes even further (complete with lots and lots of links) in suggesting that the Republicans did not bother to do even a passing vetting of Alaska's governor. Go here.
Alaska's largest daily paper is wondering why Palin is suddenly trying to stonewall the Troopergate investigation after previously tellng them to investigate her and hold her accountable. Here.
And she is a liar.
And she is a scary religious nut to boot.
On a different note, Fannie and Freddie (no, not hurricanes) are poised to be taken over by the government to make sure they stay in business, but it'll cost ya. "Ya" as in y'all taxpayers, because F & F control half of all home mortgages in this country. That's $5,000,000,000,000 in layman's terms. Effin' trillions. Word should be out by Sunday afternoon since the Asian markets open then. Deregulation's a great thing, isn't it? Hand over the reins to the private sector and let them run with it. Yeah. Greed only happens when the government is involved. Incompetence only happens when it's the government. Was it only 8 short years ago that this country was mired in a nasty massive budget surplus, lots and lots of jobs, respect overseas and at home, mostly peace abroad, no dead soldiers and only one hummer of a scandal and the conservatives were all pissed off, because the government was too big and intrusive?
Thank goodness they got back into power and fixed all of that crap. And thank goodness they are now putting forth a reformer to reform the reforms they instituted 8 years ago. Because just think what state this country would be in were those damn Liberals allowed to continue running this nation instead of another fucking Republican.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Palin: Didn't See That Coming!

Unfortunately, religion is playing a bigger and bigger role in determining who is electable and who is not. This is allegedly an example of what Sarah Palin's church believes. Also, when she ran for mayor of whatever little town it was in Alaska, one of her main platforms was the anti-abortion ones. In a town of 7,800 who really should give a shit? And why is being a member of the PTA considered a strong rationale for choosing someone for a VP nomination? And what the eff was Cindy McCain thinking when she touted Alaska's closeness to Russia as all we need to know about Palin's foreign policy experience? Semi-quote: "Alaska is right next to Russia, so she knows what it's like."
Also, she had been quoted as saying that if her daughter were raped and became pregnant as a result she would force said daughter to have the baby. But when Palin was 7 months pregnant with her 5th baby, she went ahead with a 30 minute speech even though her water had broken prematurely, then caught a multi-hour flight back to Alaska before seeking medical attention. As any health professional will tell you, water breaking means get your ass to the hospital now! The chance of infection is not small and can endanger both the mother-to-be and the fetus. So, does she believe in human rights at conception for everyone but her own offspring?
Palin was for the "bridge to nowhere", but then she was against it once the firestorm hit about pork barrel earmarks (and her state had already been given the money and spent it all on other projects).
Speaking of earmarks, she was a notorious abuser of special pet projects until this year when she suddenly became a reformer in the mold of McCain. Yet, her earmark requests this year still totaled something like $91 million (albeit on fewer projects). That comes to about $300 per Alaskan, much much higher than any other state. The average per person in all states combined is $34. She may eat moose, but she's raising pigs.
She's for oil drilling anywhere she can. She's a born-again Evangelical (and that right there is enough to nauseate me; they are the worst proselitizers and hypocrites ever to walk this earth). She has been endorsed by none other than Joe Leiberman who is the most flagrant political opportunist Congress has ever seen. Truly bipartisan in a sense. He'll go to whichever side holds sway. In fact, if obama wins in November, expect to Joe sucking up to the Dems in order to save his chair seats that he holds with the Dems. If McCain wins, expect him to push for a Cabinet position and chastise the Dems for not being bi-partisan.
Back to Palin, she was on the PAC that donated the tainted money to then-Gov. Ted Stevens who is about to be indicted on multiple counts of corruption (e.g. bribes through the PAC). She and her husband were once members of a political party that wanted to secede from the United States (allegedly she even spoke at their 2008 convention).
And last, but not least: she has as little political and leadership experience as George W. Bush. She went from PTA to PAC to Mayor to Governor. And it was all paid for the mayoral level by the National Republican party. When she ran for Mayor, her town saw political ads paid for a political party for the first time ever. At least in Alaska, Mayoral races are supposed to be non-partisan. But she was backed by the RNC and ran on platforms like anti-abortion, pro-heterosexual marriage, being born-again and the NRA. What does any of that have to do with a town of 7,800? Although, now in my city of 500,000, I have the two Mayoral candidates slugging it out on issues such as same sex marriage (both are against and I again wonder what this has to do with running my city). In any town, I think most people really want to know about fixing roads and widening streets and cutting down on crime and lowering water bills and stopping drunken driving.
But maybe I'm wrong. Maybe it's all about the idealogy and not at all about the real.

Monday, August 25, 2008

War Crimes (Shame On Us)

(an update by Chalmers Johnson and, then, the original article from 2005; this is perhaps the most damning of war crime accusations against my country I have ever read. I knew all about the National Museums and the National Library being looted and burned. I knew that the soldiers on the ground watched it unfold and were told by their commanders to do nothing. I knew that the oil fields and Oil Ministry had been secured and protected. I knew that Iraqi weapons caches and weapons supply depots were not secured until weeks or months after the initial invasion. But I did not know the extent of the destruction done to the written history of our world until i read this back in 2005 and, again, today. It is not a pleasant read, but it is important in light of the lies and deception we now know to have occured under the guise of "liberation". -fishstick)

The Past Destroyed: Five Years Later
On April 11, 12, 13, and 14, 2003, the United States Army and United States Marine Corps disgraced themselves and the country they represent in Baghdad, Iraq's capital city. Having invaded Iraq and accepted the status of a military occupying power, they sat in their tanks and Humvees, watching as unarmed civilians looted the Iraqi National Museum and burned down the Iraqi National Library and Archives as well as the Library of Korans of the Ministry of Religious Endowments. Their behavior was in violation of their orders, international law, and the civilized values of the United States. Far from apologizing for these atrocities or attempting to make amends, the United States government has in the past five years added insult to injury.
Donald Rumsfeld, then secretary of defense and the official responsible for the actions of the troops, repeatedly attempted to trivialize what had occurred with inane public statements like "democracy is messy" and "stuff happens."
On December 2, 2004, President Bush awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award, to General Tommy Franks, the overall military commander in Iraq at that time, for his meritorious service to the country. (He gave the same award to L. Paul Bremer III, the highest ranking civilian official in Iraq, and to George Tenet, director of the Central Intelligence Agency, which had provided false information about Saddam Hussein and Iraq to Congress and the people.)
In the five years since the initial looting and pillaging of the Iraqi capital, thieves have stolen at least 32,000 items from some 12,000 archaeological sites across Iraq with no interference whatsoever from the occupying power. No funds have been appropriated by the American or Iraqi governments to protect the most valuable and vulnerable historical sites on Earth, even though experience has shown that just a daily helicopter overflight usually scares off looters. In 2006, the World Monuments Fund took the unprecedented step of putting the entire country of Iraq on its list of the most endangered sites. All of this occurred on George W. Bush's watch and impugned any moral authority he might have claimed.
The United States government seems never to have understood that, when it began the occupation of Iraq on March 19, 2003, it became legally responsible for what happened to the country's cultural inheritance. After all, the only legal justification for its presence in Iraq is U.N. Security Council Resolution 1483 of May 22, 2003. Both the United States and the United Kingdom voted for this resolution in which they formally acknowledged their status and obligations as occupying powers in Iraq. Among those obligations, specified in the Preamble to the resolution, was: "The need for respect for the archaeological, historical, cultural, and religious heritage of Iraq, and for the continued protection of archaeological, historical, cultural, and religious sites, museums, libraries, and monuments." Every politically sentient observer on Earth is aware of the Bush administration's contempt for international law and its routine scofflaw behavior since it came to power, but this clause remains an ironclad obligation that will stand up in an international or a domestic U.S. court. On this issue, the United States is an outlaw, waiting to be brought to justice.
In 1258 AD the Mongols descended on Baghdad and pillaged its magnificent libraries. A well-known adage states that the Tigris River ran black from the ink of the countless texts the Mongols trashed, while the streets ran red with the blood of the city's slaughtered inhabitants. The world has never forgotten that medieval act of barbarism, just as it will never forget what the U.S. military unleashed on the defenseless city in 2003 and in subsequent years. There is simply no excuse for what has happened in Baghdad at the hands of the Americans. Chalmers Johnson, August, 2008
The Smash of CivilizationsBy Chalmers Johnson
In the months before he ordered the invasion of Iraq, George Bush and his senior officials spoke of preserving Iraq's "patrimony" for the Iraqi people. At a time when talking about Iraqi oil was taboo, what he meant by patrimony was exactly that -- Iraqi oil. In their "joint statement on Iraq's future" of April 8, 2003, George Bush and Tony Blair declared, "We reaffirm our commitment to protect Iraq's natural resources, as the patrimony of the people of Iraq, which should be used only for their benefit."[1] In this they were true to their word. Among the few places American soldiers actually did guard during and in the wake of their invasion were oil fields and the Oil Ministry in Baghdad. But the real Iraqi patrimony, that invaluable human inheritance of thousands of years, was another matter. At a time when American pundits were warning of a future "clash of civilizations," our occupation forces were letting perhaps the greatest of all human patrimonies be looted and smashed.
There have been many dispiriting sights on TV since George Bush launched his ill-starred war on Iraq -- the pictures from Abu Ghraib, Fallujah laid waste, American soldiers kicking down the doors of private homes and pointing assault rifles at women and children. But few have reverberated historically like the looting of Baghdad's museum -- or been forgotten more quickly in this country.
Teaching the Iraqis about the Untidiness of History
In archaeological circles, Iraq is known as "the cradle of civilization," with a record of culture going back more than 7,000 years. William R. Polk, the founder of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Chicago, says, "It was there, in what the Greeks called Mesopotamia, that life as we know it today began: there people first began to speculate on philosophy and religion, developed concepts of international trade, made ideas of beauty into tangible forms, and, above all developed the skill of writing."[2] No other places in the Bible except for Israel have more history and prophecy associated with them than Babylonia, Shinar (Sumer), and Mesopotamia -- different names for the territory that the British around the time of World War I began to call "Iraq," using the old Arab term for the lands of the former Turkish enclave of Mesopotamia (in Greek: "between the [Tigris and Euphrates] rivers").[3] Most of the early books of Genesis are set in Iraq (see, for instance, Genesis 10:10, 11:31; also Daniel 1-4; II Kings 24).
The best-known of the civilizations that make up Iraq's cultural heritage are the Sumerians, Akkadians, Babylonians, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Parthians, Sassanids, and Muslims. On April 10, 2003, in a television address, President Bush acknowledged that the Iraqi people are "the heirs of a great civilization that contributes to all humanity."[4.] Only two days later, under the complacent eyes of the U.S. Army, the Iraqis would begin to lose that heritage in a swirl of looting and burning.
In September 2004, in one of the few self-critical reports to come out of Donald Rumsfeld's Department of Defense, the Defense Science Board Task Force on Strategic Communication wrote: "The larger goals of U.S. strategy depend on separating the vast majority of non-violent Muslims from the radical-militant Islamist-Jihadists. But American efforts have not only failed in this respect: they may also have achieved the opposite of what they intended."[5] Nowhere was this failure more apparent than in the indifference -- even the glee -- shown by Rumsfeld and his generals toward the looting on April 11 and 12, 2003, of the National Museum in Baghdad and the burning on April 14, 2003, of the National Library and Archives as well as the Library of Korans at the Ministry of Religious Endowments. These events were, according to Paul Zimansky, a Boston University archaeologist, "the greatest cultural disaster of the last 500 years." Eleanor Robson of All Souls College, Oxford, said, "You'd have to go back centuries, to the Mongol invasion of Baghdad in 1258, to find looting on this scale."[6] Yet Secretary Rumsfeld compared the looting to the aftermath of a soccer game and shrugged it off with the comment that "Freedom's untidy. . . . Free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes."[7]
The Baghdad archaeological museum has long been regarded as perhaps the richest of all such institutions in the Middle East. It is difficult to say with precision what was lost there in those catastrophic April days in 2003 because up-to-date inventories of its holdings, many never even described in archaeological journals, were also destroyed by the looters or were incomplete thanks to conditions in Baghdad after the Gulf War of 1991. One of the best records, however partial, of its holdings is the catalog of items the museum lent in 1988 to an exhibition held in Japan's ancient capital of Nara entitled Silk Road Civilizations. But, as one museum official said to John Burns of the New York Times after the looting, "All gone, all gone. All gone in two days."[8]
A single, beautifully illustrated, indispensable book edited by Milbry Polk and Angela M.H. Schuster, The Looting of the Iraq Museum, Baghdad: The Lost Legacy of Ancient Mesopotamia (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2005), represents the heartbreaking attempt of over a dozen archaeological specialists on ancient Iraq to specify what was in the museum before the catastrophe, where those objects had been excavated, and the condition of those few thousand items that have been recovered. The editors and authors have dedicated a portion of the royalties from this book to the Iraqi State Board of Antiquities and Heritage.
At a conference on art crimes held in London a year after the disaster, the British Museum's John Curtis reported that at least half of the forty most important stolen objects had not been retrieved and that of some 15,000 items looted from the museum's showcases and storerooms about 8,000 had yet to be traced. Its entire collection of 5,800 cylinder seals and clay tablets, many containing cuneiform writing and other inscriptions some of which go back to the earliest discoveries of writing itself, was stolen.[9] Since then, as a result of an amnesty for looters, about 4,000 of the artifacts have been recovered in Iraq, and over 1,000 have been confiscated in the United States.[10] Curtis noted that random checks of Western soldiers leaving Iraq had led to the discovery of several in illegal possession of ancient objects. Customs agents in the U.S. then found more. Officials in Jordan have impounded about 2,000 pieces smuggled in from Iraq; in France, 500 pieces; in Italy, 300; in Syria, 300; and in Switzerland, 250. Lesser numbers have been seized in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Turkey. None of these objects has as yet been sent back to Baghdad.
The 616 pieces that form the famous collection of "Nimrud gold," excavated by the Iraqis in the late 1980s from the tombs of the Assyrian queens at Nimrud, a few miles southeast of Mosul, were saved, but only because the museum had secretly moved them to the subterranean vaults of the Central Bank of Iraq at the time of the first Gulf War. By the time the Americans got around to protecting the bank in 2003, its building was a burnt-out shell filled with twisted metal beams from the collapse of the roof and all nine floors under it. Nonetheless, the underground compartments and their contents survived undamaged. On July 3, 2003, a small portion of the Nimrud holdings was put on display for a few hours, allowing a handful of Iraqi officials to see them for the first time since 1990.[11]
The torching of books and manuscripts in the Library of Korans and the National Library was in itself a historical disaster of the first order. Most of the Ottoman imperial documents and the old royal archives concerning the creation of Iraq were reduced to ashes. According to Humberto Márquez, the Venezuelan writer and author of Historia Universal de La Destrucción de Los Libros (2004), about a million books and ten million documents were destroyed by the fires of April 14, 2003.[12] Robert Fisk, the veteran Middle East correspondent of the Independent of London, was in Baghdad the day of the fires. He rushed to the offices of the U.S. Marines' Civil Affairs Bureau and gave the officer on duty precise map locations for the two archives and their names in Arabic and English, and pointed out that the smoke could be seen from three miles away. The officer shouted to a colleague, "This guy says some biblical library is on fire," but the Americans did nothing to try to put out the flames.[13]
The Burger King of Ur
Given the black market value of ancient art objects, U.S. military leaders had been warned that the looting of all thirteen national museums throughout the country would be a particularly grave danger in the days after they captured Baghdad and took control of Iraq. In the chaos that followed the Gulf War of 1991, vandals had stolen about 4,000 objects from nine different regional museums. In monetary terms, the illegal trade in antiquities is the third most lucrative form of international trade globally, exceeded only by drug smuggling and arms sales.[14] Given the richness of Iraq's past, there are also over 10,000 significant archaeological sites scattered across the country, only some 1,500 of which have been studied. Following the Gulf War, a number of them were illegally excavated and their artifacts sold to unscrupulous international collectors in Western countries and Japan. All this was known to American commanders.
In January 2003, on the eve of the invasion of Iraq, an American delegation of scholars, museum directors, art collectors, and antiquities dealers met with officials at the Pentagon to discuss the forthcoming invasion. They specifically warned that Baghdad's National Museum was the single most important site in the country. McGuire Gibson of the University of Chicago's Oriental Institute said, "I thought I was given assurances that sites and museums would be protected."[15] Gibson went back to the Pentagon twice to discuss the dangers, and he and his colleagues sent several e-mail reminders to military officers in the weeks before the war began. However, a more ominous indicator of things to come was reported in the April 14, 2003, London Guardian: Rich American collectors with connections to the White House were busy "persuading the Pentagon to relax legislation that protects Iraq's heritage by prevention of sales abroad." On January 24, 2003, some sixty New York-based collectors and dealers organized themselves into a new group called the American Council for Cultural Policy and met with Bush administration and Pentagon officials to argue that a post-Saddam Iraq should have relaxed antiquities laws.[16] Opening up private trade in Iraqi artifacts, they suggested, would offer such items better security than they could receive in Iraq.
The main international legal safeguard for historically and humanistically important institutions and sites is the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, signed on May 14, 1954. The U.S. is not a party to that convention, primarily because, during the Cold War, it feared that the treaty might restrict its freedom to engage in nuclear war; but during the 1991 Gulf War the elder Bush's administration accepted the convention's rules and abided by a "no-fire target list" of places where valuable cultural items were known to exist.[17] UNESCO and other guardians of cultural artifacts expected the younger Bush's administration to follow the same procedures in the 2003 war.
Moreover, on March 26, 2003, the Pentagon's Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance (ORHA), headed by Lt. Gen. (ret.) Jay Garner -- the civil authority the U.S. had set up for the moment hostilities ceased -- sent to all senior U.S. commanders a list of sixteen institutions that "merit securing as soon as possible to prevent further damage, destruction, and/or pilferage of records and assets." The five-page memo dispatched two weeks before the fall of Baghdad also said, "Coalition forces must secure these facilities in order to prevent looting and the resulting irreparable loss of cultural treasures" and that "looters should be arrested/detained." First on Gen. Garner's list of places to protect was the Iraqi Central Bank, which is now a ruin; second was the Museum of Antiquities. Sixteenth was the Oil Ministry, the only place that U.S. forces occupying Baghdad actually defended. Martin Sullivan, chair of the President's Advisory Committee on Cultural Property for the previous eight years, and Gary Vikan, director of the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore and a member of the committee, both resigned to protest the failure of CENTCOM to obey orders. Sullivan said it was "inexcusable" that the museum should not have had the same priority as the Oil Ministry.[18]
As we now know, the American forces made no effort to prevent the looting of the great cultural institutions of Iraq, its soldiers simply watching vandals enter and torch the buildings. Said Arjomand, an editor of the journal Studies on Persianate Societies and a professor of sociology at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, wrote, "Our troops, who have been proudly guarding the Oil Ministry, where no window is broken, deliberately condoned these horrendous events."[19] American commanders claim that, to the contrary, they were too busy fighting and had too few troops to protect the museum and libraries. However, this seems to be an unlikely explanation. During the battle for Baghdad, the U.S. military was perfectly willing to dispatch some 2,000 troops to secure northern Iraq's oilfields, and their record on antiquities did not improve when the fighting subsided. At the 6,000-year-old Sumerian city of Ur with its massive ziggurat, or stepped temple-tower (built in the period 2112 - 2095 B.C. and restored by Nebuchadnezzar II in the sixth century B.C.), the Marines spray-painted their motto, "Semper Fi" (semper fidelis, always faithful) onto its walls.[20] The military then made the monument "off limits" to everyone in order to disguise the desecration that had occurred there, including the looting by U.S. soldiers of clay bricks used in the construction of the ancient buildings.
Until April 2003, the area around Ur, in the environs of Nasiriyah, was remote and sacrosanct. However, the U.S. military chose the land immediately adjacent to the ziggurat to build its huge Tallil Air Base with two runways measuring 12,000 and 9,700 feet respectively and four satellite camps. In the process, military engineers moved more than 9,500 truckloads of dirt in order to build 350,000 square feet of hangars and other facilities for aircraft and Predator unmanned drones. They completely ruined the area, the literal heartland of human civilization, for any further archaeological research or future tourism. On October 24, 2003, according to the Global Security Organization, the Army and Air Force built its own modern ziggurat. It "opened its second Burger King at Tallil. The new facility, co-located with [a].... Pizza Hut, provides another Burger King restaurant so that more service men and women serving in Iraq can, if only for a moment, forget about the task at hand in the desert and get a whiff of that familiar scent that takes them back home."[21]
The great British archaeologist, Sir Max Mallowan (husband of Agatha Christie), who pioneered the excavations at Ur, Nineveh, and Nimrud, quotes some classical advice that the Americans might have been wise to heed: "There was danger in disturbing ancient monuments.... It was both wise and historically important to reverence the legacies of ancient times. Ur was a city infested with ghosts of the past and it was prudent to appease them."[22]
The American record elsewhere in Iraq is no better. At Babylon, American and Polish forces built a military depot, despite objections from archaeologists. John Curtis, the British Museum's authority on Iraq's many archaeological sites, reported on a visit in December 2004 that he saw "cracks and gaps where somebody had tried to gouge out the decorated bricks forming the famous dragons of the Ishtar Gate" and a "2,600-year-old brick pavement crushed by military vehicles."[23] Other observers say that the dust stirred up by U.S. helicopters has sandblasted the fragile brick façade of the palace of Nebuchadnezzar II, king of Babylon from 605 to 562 B.C.[24] The archaeologist Zainab Bahrani reports, "Between May and August 2004, the wall of the Temple of Nabu and the roof of the Temple of Ninmah, both of the sixth century B.C., collapsed as a result of the movement of helicopters. Nearby, heavy machines and vehicles stand parked on the remains of a Greek theater from the era of Alexander of Macedon [Alexander the Great]."[25]
And none of this even begins to deal with the massive, ongoing looting of historical sites across Iraq by freelance grave and antiquities robbers, preparing to stock the living rooms of western collectors. The unceasing chaos and lack of security brought to Iraq in the wake of our invasion have meant that a future peaceful Iraq may hardly have a patrimony to display. It is no small accomplishment of the Bush administration to have plunged the cradle of the human past into the same sort of chaos and lack of security as the Iraqi present. If amnesia is bliss, then the fate of Iraq's antiquities represents a kind of modern paradise.
President Bush's supporters have talked endlessly about his global war on terrorism as a "clash of civilizations." But the civilization we are in the process of destroying in Iraq is part of our own heritage. It is also part of the world's patrimony. Before our invasion of Afghanistan, we condemned the Taliban for their dynamiting of the monumental third century A.D. Buddhist statues at Bamiyan in March, 2001. Those were two gigantic statues of remarkable historical value and the barbarism involved in their destruction blazed in headlines and horrified commentaries in our country. Today, our own government is guilty of far greater crimes when it comes to the destruction of a whole universe of antiquity, and few here, when they consider Iraqi attitudes toward the American occupation, even take that into consideration. But what we do not care to remember, others may recall all too well.
Chalmers Johnson's latest book is Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic, now available in a Holt Paperback. It is the third volume of his Blowback Trilogy. This piece, originally posted on July 7, 2005, at, has also been collected in The World According to TomDispatch, America in the New Age of Empire (Verso, 2008)
[1.] American Embassy, London, " Visit of President Bush to Northern Ireland, April 7-8, 2003."
[2.] William R. Polk, "Introduction," Milbry Polk and Angela M. H. Schuster, eds., The Looting of the Iraq Museum: The Lost Legacy of Ancient Mesopotamia (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2005), p. 5. Also see Suzanne Muchnic, "Spotlight on Iraq's Plundered Past," Los Angeles Times, June 20, 2005.
[3.] David Fromkin, A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East (New York: Owl Books, 1989, 2001), p. 450.
[4.] George Bush's address to the Iraqi people, broadcast on "Towards Freedom TV," April 10, 2003.
[5.] Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, Report of the Defense Science Board Task Force on Strategic Communication (Washington, D.C.: September 2004), pp. 39-40.
[6.] See Frank Rich, "And Now: 'Operation Iraqi Looting,'" New York Times, April 27, 2003.
[7.] Robert Scheer, "It's U.S. Policy that's 'Untidy,'" Los Angeles Times, April 15, 2003; reprinted in Books in Flames, Tomdispatch, April 15, 2003.
[8.] John F. Burns, "Pillagers Strip Iraqi Museum of Its Treasures," New York Times, April 13, 2003; Piotr Michalowski (University of Michigan), The Ransacking of the Baghdad Museum is a Disgrace, History News Network, April 14, 2003.
[9.] Polk and Schuster, op. cit, pp. 209-210.
[10.] Mark Wilkinson, Looting of Ancient Sites Threatens Iraqi Heritage, Reuters, June 29, 2005.
[11.] Polk and Schuster, op. cit., pp. 23, 212-13; Louise Jury, "At Least 8,000 Treasures Looted from Iraq Museum Still Untraced," Independent, May 24, 2005; Stephen Fidler, "'The Looters Knew What They Wanted. It Looks Like Vandalism, but Organized Crime May be Behind It,'" Financial Times, May 23, 2003; Rod Liddle, The Day of the Jackals, Spectator, April 19, 2003.
[12.] Humberto Márquez, Iraq Invasion the 'Biggest Cultural Disaster Since 1258,', February 16, 2005.
[13.] Robert Fisk, "Library Books, Letters, and Priceless Documents are Set Ablaze in Final Chapter of the Sacking of Baghdad," Independent, April 15, 2003.
[14.] Polk and Schuster, op. cit., p. 10.
[15.] Guy Gugliotta, "Pentagon Was Told of Risk to Museums; U.S. Urged to Save Iraq's Historic Artifacts," Washington Post, April 14, 2003; McGuire Gibson, "Cultural Tragedy In Iraq: A Report On the Looting of Museums, Archives, and Sites," International Foundation for Art Research.
[16.] Rod Liddle, op. cit.; Oliver Burkeman, Ancient Archive Lost in Baghdad Blaze, Guardian, April 15, 2003.
[17.] See James A. R. Nafziger, Art Loss in Iraq: Protection of Cultural Heritage in Time of War and Its Aftermath, International Foundation for Art Research.
[18.] Paul Martin, Ed Vulliamy, and Gaby Hinsliff, U.S. Army was Told to Protect Looted Museum, Observer, April 20, 2003; Frank Rich, op. cit.; Paul Martin, "Troops Were Told to Guard Treasures," Washington Times, April 20, 2003.
[19.] Said Arjomand, Under the Eyes of U.S. Forces and This Happened?, History News Network, April 14, 2003.
[20.] Ed Vulliamy, Troops 'Vandalize' Ancient City of Ur, Observer, May 18, 2003; Paul Johnson, Art: A New History (New York: HarperCollins, 2003), pp. 18, 35; Polk and Schuster, op. cit., p. 99, fig. 25.
[21.] Tallil Air Base,
[22.] Max Mallowan, Mallowan's Memoirs (London: Collins, 1977), p. 61.
[23.] Rory McCarthy and Maev Kennedy, Babylon Wrecked by War, Guardian, January 15, 2005.
[24.] Owen Bowcott, Archaeologists Fight to Save Iraqi Sites, Guardian, June 20, 2005.
[25.] Zainab Bahrani, "The Fall of Babylon," in Polk and Schuster, op. cit., p. 214.
Copyright 2005 & 2008 Chalmers Johnson

Friday, August 22, 2008

John McCain: Liar and Hypocrite

A great little article from the L.A. Times, which truly does highlight the economic differences between the two Presidential candidates and, perhaps more importantly, the difference in attention to speaking honestly to the very people they wish to elect them.
McCain is a liar and a hypocrite.

"...The goal is to be seen as a man -- or woman -- of the people.Recall George H.W. Bush, the senator's son and scion of upper-crust Kennebunkport, Maine, munching on pork rinds on his way to presidential victory in 1988. Four years later, he marveled aloud at his first apparent encounter with a supermarket bar-code scanner -- and lost to Bill Clinton, who knew the price of a gallon of milk...
Remember that McCain is the man who told a bunch of bikers at a rally that he would rather listen to them revving their hogs in his honor than anything else. To him, he said, it was the sound of freedom...all that gas being wasted and exhaust being propelled outward (and among those many bikers were representatives of outlaw gangs that traffick in drugs, guns and murder). Then, remember this is the man who "jokingly" claimed that being wealthy involved being worth or making in a year $5,000,000. Further, remember this is the man who claimed that he would run a civil campaign, but stood to the side while his staffers questioned Barack Obama's patriotism, religious affiliation, closet cigarette smoking and even his familial heritage. Then, McCain said to the press that he was proud of these ads and didn't see them as negative or underhanded.
"...Bloggers already have made light of McCain's standard footwear: black leather Ferragamos that retail for $520. But no presidential candidate has ever owned so many homes that he couldn't come up with a number when asked.... "
And remember when we thought John Edwards's $400 haircut was outrageous?
...Most of Obama's income stems from his two bestselling books and an advance on a children's book. He and his family stayed at a friend's home last week in Hawaii, where beaches, in fact, are all public. Obama spent part of his childhood in Hawaii, and his grandmother lives there...
So, "elitist" doesn't seem to play as big a factor in his vacation as McCain said it did. Also, it is McCain who doesn't like to get up before 8 a.m. on the campaign tour and who regularly hides out on the weekends in order to "rejuice his battery". There's an oldness factor in play here that scares me. McCain claims he should be the one with his finger on the red button, but is he really the one who should be woken up at 3 a.m. when a national crisis occurs? He would be the oldest president ever elected. Nothing wrong with the wisdom that comes with age, but he has actually admitted he gets tired easily sometimes and needs extra rest. And this is before he even takes the most important office in our country, which stresses and taxes even the seemingly young and ages them beyond their years.
"...McCain, who huddled with advisors [sic] at his desert compound in Sedona, Ariz., said nothing in public. A nine-car motorcade took him to a nearby Starbucks early in the morning, where he ordered a large cappuccino. McCain otherwise avoided reporters..."
I have a co-worker who, two weeks ago, was fretting that she wouldn't be able to make it to the company's summer picnic, because she didn't know if she could afford the gas. And the picnic was at our office, which means one more trip to work than she would have done in a regular week. How would she feel upon finding out that McCain needed nine cars to get to and from a Starbucks for his precious cappucino?
I may not be totally enamored of Obama Barack, but I am definitely outraged by John McCain and his supposed connections to the common working class person. He has less in common with me than any evidence of past life we may someday find on Mars. At least, extinct Martian lichen may have one day breathed the same type of air as me. McCain never has held a real job in his life, one that involved getting a paycheck from an employer who provided no vacation or sick leave or medical insurance or one that involved balancing the weekly budget to find out what small luxuries could be afforded (like a movie or a dinner out or an evening down at the local watering hole. No, he was born into wealth, went into the military, crashed 4 planes, went straight into politics (via his family connections) and eventually married a beer fortune heiress after cheating repeatedly on his first wife. Oh, and along the way he spent time in a Vietnamese prison camp (the last plane mishap), which he gladly trots in order to prove he's a better American than almost everyone else.
McCain is a liar and a hypocrite. And, in my opinion, a sad commentary on our society's inability to parse the difference between those who try to do positive things for the country and those who claim entitlement through sheer happenstance while denigrating anyone who stands in their way.

Monday, August 11, 2008


Dear friend I have a project I want you to run with us. It involves exportation of 100,000 barrels of crude oil daily from Kirkuk, Iraq. If you are interested, email me via: Mr. Yan.

(the newest variation of "my father is former king of nigeria. he have lot money and wish to put in your bank. please help.")

Friday, August 08, 2008

Well...John Edwards admitted to cheating on his wife after lying about it for a couple of years to the Press. Makes one think that he is not presidential or vice-presidential timber, don't it? The only reason he 'fessed up is because the (of all rags) National Enquirer got wind and wouldn't let it go. Who'da thunk the Enquirer would actually be telling the truth for once? Makes me wonder about their other stories that I once scoffed at, like: alien babies, aliens visiting every sitting president since Truman, crop circles, every celebrity ever known in a life and death battle with AIDS/cancer/weight, two-headed babies, lizard men, 1,200-year-old people walking the streets of New York, placentas in our Cheerios, Kirstie Alley making a comeback, Tom Cruise really being straight...really out there stuff.
But since they got this one right I have to truly reassess.
Back on track, though, is John Edwards really washed up now, because he finally admitted to an affair he had in the not-so-distant past? He's been named as a possible vice-president nominee. He was promised speaking time at the Democratic national Convention this year. Is he no longer washable and saleable to the American Public, because he transgressed, because he commited adultery? Because he lied to a tabloid and then was forced to eat crow in a very loud manner?
Well, if you say "Yes, he is done. Turn him over and stick a fork into him, because he is a sinner/liar/adulterer/cheat/traitor to the ones he claims to love, then let me introduce you to someone who is, also, political and involved in a much larger arena of growth:
John McCain. Thirty years ago, John cheated on his wife. Not only cheated once, but many times. And he documented all of this in a book written in later years when he was safely married to the last woman he cheated with (so far as we know). And the last woman he cheated with and eventually married? A heiress to a catsup (or ketchup for you Indianans) fortune. I say, John: good time to stop and smell the 57th spice.
So, if one John is to be condemned for an affair, is the other not as well? Or does 30 years wipe out the sin? I can guarantee that the one John's sin is too new to allow him to accept a nomination if such were to be offered (which I can say with all conviction it won't be), because the American Span of Attention is especially strong and harsh within the first 24 hours unless Paris Hilton tapes a rebuttal and dilutes the initial idiocy with more.
Suffice it to say, Edwards is done and forked for the amount of time it will take to uncover at least two more politicians' personal scandals that don't involve money, yachts or cocaine. Where the hell is Eliot Spitzer when you need him?
But let's get back to the man running for the White House. He cheated numerous times on his first wife, then documented it in a book fer cryin' out loud. But only after he was safely married to a very rich tomato and suger combo heiress. And everyone seems to have forgiven or forgot.
This is McCain: a man who claims to be a maverick for many years and actually voted in a manner that supports that supposition, but who recently began to mirror everything that the current Bush stands for in order to placate his constituents. He actually told supporters that offshore drilling would benefit us at the gas pump within months. He has, also, resorted to attack ads against Barack Obama, which defy everything he said after his ill-fated 2000 run against Shrub. He claimed then that he would never engage in that type of behavior against anyone of any stripe. But, now, he has.
So, he is a liar, an opportunist and a hypocrite.
Yet, it will be John Edwards who pays for right now, because our national memory lasts only as long as the newest tabloid headline.
Personally, I can't wait to hear what happens next to Britney's hair.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Highest Paid List For 2007

Well, who woulda thunk it? Senor Mulva (rhymes with...) sits atop the heap. And it just gets better. Click here for the list of the top 100 and note how many are involved in the oil business. Of the top 25 I could only count 4 who are not directly connected to Big Oil. Pretty impressive for a group that annually cries at the door for government handouts. Y'know, all that "alternative research" for "alternative sources of energy" really leaves them in a hand-to-mouth existence. Oh wait, I read in yesterday's paper that last year the oil industry's percentage of profit spent on "alternative sources of energy" was under 3. Now, why is that? Hmmm, perhaps because they're counting on John McCain to replace Dumbya and push for offshore and Alaskan drilling. And if that becomes a reality...why, they can put off wind, solar and hydroelectric research for another (maybe) 20 years. Never mind that we control 2% of the world's finite oil fields while we consume 25% of the global product each year. And most experts agree that it will take 7-10 years before the oil companies can actually begin to pump oil from the ground and another three years to get it into our gas tanks. And that's if they started tomorrow.
And don't forget that McCain has blamed Barack Obama for high oil and gas prices. Not the current war or OPEC or China's, Indo-Asia's and Russia's new found thirst for it as they push forward in a mad race to replace us as the world's leading economy.
Nice to see that purchases of SUV's has hit an all-time low. Nice to know that registration of mopeds and scooters has hit an all-time high in the 'No.
Anyhoo, read on for the #1 douche in the top 100 bag o' buttspritzers (and don't get me wrong, I like what currency can help me do in this life; but there's a limit to how much anyone really needs. Enough to help out your children when you expire? Great. Enough to buy a third world country? Maybe a tad excessive).


James Mulva

Chairman, CEO and President


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December 31, 2007

Slow Food Nation 2008

Now, this looks like fun. Slow Food Nation 2008 in San Francisco over Labor Day weekend. Gavin Newsom (mayor hottie extraordinaire) even allowed the group to dig up a quarter acre in front of City Hall in order to grow crops as a learning tool for those seeking to be self-sustaining gardeners. Some people look on this group as elitist and non-diversified (mostly Left-leaning Whites), but who really cares? It will be a gastronome's delight and perhaps an environmental education as well.
Click here for the banner page of the festival. Click here to visit Slow Food USA's main web page.
Oh, but it ain't free. There are tasteshops, workshops, pavilions, trips, whatnot. And it can be a bit pricey. So, maybe they are a little bit snobby in terms of affordability. But I would love to attend the heirloom tomato tasting (they're served in wine glasses) just for the sheer weirdness of it. Hopefully, there's some free stuff to attend open to the public. Hopefully.
I, however, will be camping and being self-sustaining in a whole other way, ifyouknowwhatImean.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Watchmen in 2009

Rorschach from Watchmen (the greatest comic series ever; and, yes, I own all twelve books. I am uber-geek!):
9from MSNBC):
Based on the critically acclaimed graphic novel by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, "Watchmen" has been in development for years but finally got the green light under the auspices of "300" director Zack Snyder, who took the story back to its roots by setting it in 1985, the year the graphic novel came out. The story depicts a world where superpowered humans slowly began to appear in the United States after World War II, and the Cold War still looms between the United States and the Soviet Union, which seem destined for a nuclear confrontation.
(from Wikipedia):
Watchmen is a twelve-issue comic book limited series written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Dave Gibbons. Originally published by DC Comics as a monthly limited series from 1986 to 1987, it was later republished as a trade paperback,[1] which popularized the "graphic novel" format. To date, Watchmen remains the only graphic novel to win a Hugo Award,[2] and is also the only graphic novel to appear on Time Magazine's 2005 list of "the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to the present."[3]

The movie will premiere some time next year and I can only hope against hope that it partially lives up to the comic series. With "300"'s director at the helm with his unique stylization of graphic novel tableaus, though, it's very possible. Alan Moore (the writer of the series) is, also, responsible for the graphic novel "V For Vendetta".

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

(Emailed to me by my sister)
A Love Story In Three Acts:

Monday, June 30, 2008

Yes! From June 27th We Get Animals Who Hate Humans

One day after we left Yellowstone to journey back home a tourist of the smaller variety got what was coming to him. We witnessed total stupidity at the Park and it's a wonder this type of thing doesn't happen every freaking day (the above shot is Katie-did's):

Bison injures boy posing for photos at Yellowstone
2 days ago
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. (AP) — A 12-year-old boy is in the hospital after a bison he was posing near flipped him in the air at Yellowstone National Park.
The Pennsylvania boy's condition was not available after the attack Thursday.
Park officials say the boy was posing with family members within a couple of feet of the mature bull bison.
Park rules require visitors to stay at least 25 yards from bison.

Ha! Park rangers give everyone who enters the Park a complete set of rules concerning wild animals and no one reads it! So, when tourists are gored, mauled, trampled or just plain killed and eaten I say "YAY!!!!!" and "GO WILD BEASTS!!!!" and "ALL TOURISTS SHOULD DIE!!!", because I am not a real tourist. I am a law abiding drive by-er who parks in the designated area and flips the finger to those who don't abide. In fact, I think one of them has my digit on video from when they parked in a no-parking quarter mile that was protecting a nesting pair of bald eagles. Another has a vivid memory of more than one finger after they stopped in the road, got out and took a picture of a bison ambling down the East-bound lane ( and standing within 5 yards of the arrogant beast) and then stopped again within 45 seconds because (gasp!) an Elk was hanging by the side of the road.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Puttin' Your Trust In A Nonvengeful God

Allegedly taken at Alabama Medical Center:

I figured since we're going to Yellowstone for my family reunion, but staying in Idaho, this is a good image to leave on.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Ah, The Bedfellows We Sleep With; Sun Myung Moon Is The Man

As US Threatens Iran Over Enriching Uranium, Bush Promises to Give Enriched Uranium to Saudi Arabia
The Bush administration has pledged to support Saudi Arabia’s nuclear power program, including supplying enriched uranium for nuclear reactors. The agreement came out of President Bush’s visit to the Saudi kingdom last week, during which Bush also pledged new US assistance in guarding Saudi oil reserves. [includes rush transcript]

And this is just the Christians:
Jesus: Reverend Sun Myung Moon! Thou art the Second Coming who inaugurated the Completed Testament Age! The 120 people, who have brought light to the history of Christianity, pledge to take part in all that the True Parents do, and resolve to strive toward the ideal, the original garden where there is no original sin, through the guidance, the words of the Completed Testament, and the Unification Principle, of the Savior and Messiah, the Reverend Sun Myung Moon. (2001.12.19)
Peter (Disciple of Jesus): I, Peter, representing the twelve disciples of Jesus, pledge to attend the Lord of the Second Coming, the Reverend Sun Myung Moon, as Messiah and Savior.
Paul (Missionary): I, Paul, pledge to believe and attend the Lord of the Second Coming, the Reverend Sun Myung Moon, as Messiah, Savior and True Parent, with the fire I felt when I met the resurrected Jesus on the road to Damascus. I will live with the words, "You must save the saints" in my heart.
John Calvin (Religious Reformer): God is the Parent of humankind and Reverend Sun Myung Moon is the Messiah, Savior and Second Coming. Therefore, I shall live by the teachings of the Lord, and I, John Calvin, pledge to become a pioneer in helping those who are still waiting for the Lord, who are in agony, following a theology of bigotry.
Martin Luther (Religious Reformer): I believe that God is the Parent of humankind. I believe that Reverend Sun Myung Moon is the Lord of the Second Advent. I proudly proclaim that the Unification Principle is the new gospel for humanity. I, Martin Luther, pledge that I will believe in these truths, and live a life of attendance, to become a pioneer for humanity.
John Wesley (Missionary and Revivalist): I, John Wesley, proclaim that Reverend Sun Myung Moon is the True Parent of all humankind and I pledge and pledge again to live according to the direction and teachings of the True Parents.
Karl Barth (Modern Theologian): Dear Reverend Sun Myung Moon: Although I am late in doing so, I, Karl Barth, wish to live a life of attendance to, and receive guidance from, the Reverend Sun Myung Moon, who is the Second Coming and Savior. True Parents, I wish to receive the messianic teachings. Please guide me in this. I pledge to live in attendance to the True Parents.
David Livingston (Missionary to Africa): Reverend Sun Myung Moon! O Second Coming of Christ! Dear True Parents, I, Livingston, wish to create a land of God's ideal, even if it is a modest place. Can you give me a place in which to do this? I pledge to live according to the guidance of the will of the Second Coming.
Jonathan Edwards (Leader of American Great Awakening): Reverend Sun Myung Moon! Lord! I am so grateful to you. Please forgive and save America with the magnanimity of True Parents. America is God's Garden of Eden. Let it remain as the eternal Eden on earth. I know that the ideal of the Lord is that of God, and only Godism can save America. I, Jonathan Edwards, promise to never change my heart attending the Second Coming.
John Smyth (Founder of the Baptist Church): O esteemed Reverend Sun Myung Moon! Please allow the grace of your blessing unto the whole of humanity, so that they may start a new life. Please open the way for humankind to be able to live together as brothers and sisters in a Garden of Eden without original sin as soon as possible. I, John Smyth, shall go anywhere, if the Lord goes with me.
John Harvard (Founder of Harvard University, Puritan): I, John Harvard, truly wish that not only the youth of Harvard University, but those of all the universities in the world, can be armed with Unification Principle and receive the guidance of Reverend Sun Myung Moon. I pledge to participate actively in Reverend Sun Myung Moon's movement for world peace.
St. Augustine (Bishop of Hippo, who laid the cornerstone of Catholic theology): I, Augustine, will move forward strongly in realizing the ideal of the Completed Testament Age, to allow all of humanity to have the Unification Principle as their truth and Reverend Sun Myung Moon as their Messiah. I respect, believe and depend on all the words and theology of Reverend Sun Myung Moon and I give my oath and pledge, raising my hands, to do all that I do together with the Lord.
Horace Underwood (American Presbyterian, first missionary to Korea): I, Horace Underwood, joyfully celebrate the fact that the Second Coming has come to Korea, an eastern country that takes polite etiquette very seriously. I put my hands together and bow to the Messiah. I pledge and give my word of honor to devote all that I possess in attendance to the Reverend Sun Myung Moon.